Wiltshire's 'ghost village' to really come alive

Wiltshire's 'ghost village' to really come alive

Published by Mike Draper at 6:25am 15th August 2019.

4 minute read

Imber is opening up for the next five days (15-19 August), and there's a special extra for visitors.

The village, on the Salisbury Plain, is only open to the public for a limited number of days each year.

It was evacuated during the Second World War and was then used by the British Army/MoD as a combat fighting training ground.

Imber St Giles Church
The church at Imber is a little haven within the vast Salisbury Plain military training area


Visitors to Imber over the next four days will get the opportunity to take part in a unique audio tour of the forgotten village, called Imber: You Walk Through.

Whilst wearing headphones, a storyteller will explain more about the history wildlife, sights and sounds of Imber past and present.

Some of the things you will be able to hear include:

  • a little girl playing
  • a soldier waiting in old walls for an exercise to begin
  • a conversation in a pub.

The concept was first introduced during this year's Salisbury International Arts Festival, when visitors got to take a virtual tour of the village - but this time the video won't be used, just the audio.

After this weekend the audio experience will be gifted to The Friends of St Giles, in conjunction with the Churches Conservation Trust, so they can use it on future open days.

Imber St Giles Church
We can take part in the tour by visiting the Imber St Giles Church over the next five days

The tour was directed by Wiltshire Creative Associate Director Jo Newman:

"I've been wanting to make this project ever since I first visited Imber four years ago - it's such an atmospheric place and a real collision of worlds.

Imber is close to many people's hearts - its legacy has been kept alive through the passion of a few individuals, an important part of Wiltshire's history and an actively occupied training ground highly valued by the MoD - serving personnel from all over the world come to train on this site. 

It's really exciting to be working with an incredible team of creatives across disciplines and art forms to fully open up the stories of this place, past and present, taking a long view and exploring the changing landscape of our county over time."


St Giles' Church in Imber is open for the next five days at the following times:

  • Thursday 15th August - 11.00am to 4.00pm
  • Friday 16th August - 11.00am to 4.00pm
  • Saturday 17th August - 10.00am to 6.00pm
  • Sunday 18th August - 11.00am to 3.30pm
  • Monday 19th August - 11.00am to 4.00pm
Imber Bus (Imberbus)
We can also take a old Routemaster bus up to the village of Imber on Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th

Saturday and Sunday are also the Annual Imberbus Days for 2019. 

25 former London Routemaster buses will run from Warminster Railway Station to the 'ghost village' throughout both days.

There are also bus stops at Gore Cross, Market Lavington, West Lavington, Tilshead and Chitterne.

Full details for the timings for the 23A bus service for Imber village are available on their Imberbus website.

On Sunday, the buses will only call at Warminster train station and Imber village itself: 

  • Departing from Warminster Station at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 13.00 and 14.00.
  • Returning from Imber Church at 10.25, 11.25, 12.25, 13.25, 14.25 and also at 16.30.
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